JUSTICE DENIED

Written by KG Kannabiran | Published on: December 1, 2003
court at Tsundur. Responding to this in writing, the SP, Guntur, assured the high court that they would provide bandobust at Tsundur. The same was communicated to the trial court by the high court in 1998.
On 2.9.2003 the spl. judge, Mr. N Balayogi addressed a letter to the district collector Mr. Ramakrishna Rao requesting that he make all necessary arrangements, including security arrangements, at Tsundur. However, since there was no response from the district collector even by 29.9.2003, the judge had no choice but to postpone the case. The building was not made ready by the administration even by the date of the next adjournment (31.10.2003) and the case was again postponed to 27.11.2003. However, there was no response from the district administration on this day though some steps had been taken to renovate the building. The case was again posted to 10.12.2003, which, incidentally, is International Human Rights Day. The collector thus, is responsible for about three months’ delay in trying the case.

Non co-operation by police to the spl. PPs
On their part, the police administration has been taking no interest in this case. In spite of repeated requests by the special PPs, the concerned police officials have so far not handed over the CD files of the Tsundur carnage cases to them. The case record runs into about 2000 pages, which takes months for the prosecutors to prepare for effective layering on behalf of the prosecution. It is also doubtful whether all the case files are in fact with the police. The inspector of police, Tsundur, told representatives of the Victims’ Association that it took great effort to trace just a fraction of the records.
The police were not prompt in filing the death certificate of one of the accused, who died a couple of months ago, though they were given one month’s time to do so. Thus, in an indirect way, they helped those who needed to delay the case trial.

12 year-old NBWs against eight accused still to be executed
The case against the following eight absconding accused has been pending with the committal court in the spl. mobile court, Guntur, for the last 12 years without being committed to the spl. court:
1) A119: Mr. Kondamadugula Venkatappa Reddy S/o Mr. Venkata Reddy, R/o Modukur,
2) A146: Mr. Kosana Ramakrishna Rao S/o Mr. Venkaiah @ Kirasanayilu Venkaiah, R/o Munnangivaripalem,
3) A151: Mr. Ikkurthi Venkateswarlu, S/o Mr. Subba Rao, R/o Munnagivaripalem,
4) A169: Mr. Gorrepati Krishna Reddy, S/o Mr. Rami Reddy, R/o Munnagivaripalem,
5) A170: Mr. Modugula Kotireddy, S/o Mr. Sambireddy, R/o Tsundur,
6) A176: Mr. Kosana Venkaiah @ Kirasanayilu Venkaiah, S/o Mr. Yedukondalu R/o Tsundur,
7) A184: Mr. Gorrepati Appireddy @ Babu, S/o Mr. Ramireddy, R/o Tsundur,
8) A188: Mr. Bontha Papireddy S/o Mr. Kotireddy, R/o Munnagivaripalem.
They are yet to be arrested even 12 years after the charge sheet was filed and NBWs have been pending against them for more than a decade. Even the inspector of police, Tsundur, could not tell us in which court the separated case was pending. Though some of the absconding accused are very much present in Tsundur and surrounding places, no efforts have been made to arrest them.
The Victims’ Association made efforts and traced the case to the spl. mobile court, Guntur. Though the magistrate has addressed several letters to the police authorities during these 12 years, the concerned police have not even been attending to the court on the adjournment dates.
If immediate steps are not taken to arrest the eight absconding accused and the case is not committed to the spl. sessions court immediately, the entire trial exercise will have to be undergone again for them. This results in the wastage of the precious time of the hon’ble spl. sessions judge. The police department would also be burdened with serving summons to all 125 witnesses again at public expense. The witnesses would lose their working days for a second time on attending the trial for a second time.
The right to speedy trial is a fundamental right and the provision of equal justice a constitutional obligation, and the State and its instruments have been brazenly violating the fundamental right of the Dalit community and have been guilty of the flagrant breach of their constitutional obligation to provide equal justice to the victims and their community.
The IGP (PCR cell) Mr. Mandanlal paid a visit to Guntur a month ago in relation to the Tsundur case. Displaying great discourtesy, he did not show any interest in meeting the spl. public prosecutor Mr. B Chandrasekhar who, on his invitation, visited the guesthouse where he was camping. He has not taken any steps to find the eight absconding accused, nor shown any interest in removing hurdles in the conduct of speedy trial.

Our demands
Regardless of the case being a sensational one that has been awaiting justice for 12 years, the attitude of the state government and the district civil and police administration is highly reprehensible. We feel that it is an intentional attitude assumed to help the culprits. The attitude is an outcome of a racist perception of the Dalits and their cause. It makes Dalits lose faith in the administration of justice even as they await it eagerly.
We demand that the chief minister Mr. Chandrababu Naidu take steps to remove all the hurdles in the way of the trial of the case on a war footing and take action against all the officials, however high their position may be, for showing apathy towards and causing delay in trying the case. We also demand the appointment of a committed special officer to oversee the prosecution and co-ordinate between the spl. public prosecutors, the district police and civil administration, and the state government.

KG KANNABIRAN
National President, PUCL
JALADI MOSES
President, TCVA
People’s Union for
Civil Liberties (PUCL)
128, Hanuman Temple Street, East
Maredupalli, Secunderabad- 500027
Phone: 27730632
Tsundur Carnage Victims’
Association (TCVA)
Ambedkar Nagar, Tsundur,
Guntur Dist. AP
(Phone: 08643-310453)
Hyderabad, 07.12.2003

Archived from Communalism Combat, December 2003. Year 10   No. 94, Investigation